Fun Under the Sun

Want to escape the steaming city, eh? Well, pack up the family, come on out to the beach, and dip your feet in the nice hot sand

ERIC NICOL August 1 1949

Fun Under the Sun

Want to escape the steaming city, eh? Well, pack up the family, come on out to the beach, and dip your feet in the nice hot sand

ERIC NICOL August 1 1949

Fun Under the Sun

Want to escape the steaming city, eh? Well, pack up the family, come on out to the beach, and dip your feet in the nice hot sand


OKAY, we’ll park here. Everybody out.”

Man, is that water ever going to feel good! And what a day for a swim! Not a cloud in the sky. Nothing but gnats. Be glad to get out of these sticky clothes, by George.

“Help your mother with the picnicbasket, kids. Don’t let her carry that big basket all by herself.”

Wonder if I should cover the tires? Let’s see, the sun will be behind that tree in about an hour . . . Naw, they’ll be all right. Hardly any air in them, anyhow.

“No, Roger, you can’t put on your bathing suit yet. Helen, for heaven’s sake make him put his pants back on. Roberta, take the picnic basket while Mother fixes Roger’s pants.”

What’s that sign say? No Parking Between Signs. Where’s the other one? Only one sign. Like to catch the clown in the police department who puts up one sign saying No Parking Between Signs. Nuts, they can’t tag me on a Sunday. Driveway obviously hasn’t been used for years.

‘.‘Roger, come back here ! Roberta, help take care of Roger. Do you want him to drown? Oh. Well, your mother and I don’t, so go grab his arm.” Suffering codfish, look at the mob on the beach. Must be sand here someplace. Ugh, what a mess of human flesh! Lot to be said for clothes.

“Helen, look under that potato-chip box and see if we’re on the sand yet. We are? . . . What do you mean I should have made a reservation? We’ll find a spot. See, that fat man’s getting up to go home. Well, he’s thinking about it. Roberta, take Roger over and let him kick sand at the fat man. That’s a good girl.”

If 1 don’t get these clothes off pretty soon I’ll be a baked apple. Crazy to come to the beach on Sunday afternoon anyhow. Helen’s fault. Never made one objection when I suggested it. Only time she ever argues is when I suggest something good.

“Nice work, Roberta. We’ll put the picnic basket down here. CUT THAT OUT, Roger. Now you’ve got sand in the wieners. Oh, for heaven’s sake, make him quit bawling, Helen. Roberto, stop wrapping Roger’s leash around his throat.”

A Fig for Cramps

Lord, this is the sort of thing that makes me feel lower middle class. Have to stop staring at that girl in the two-piece bathing suit, too. Helen’s noticed. Helen always notices. Beats me how a woman who can’t see 10-foot garage doors when she’s driving all of a sudden gets eyes like a mosquito hawk.

“Hey, are we going to eat already? ... 1 don’t care if the sausage rolls will get cold, Helen, I want to swim. You have to wait an hour after eating, two hours after sausage rolls, before you can swim or you get cramps . . . All right, all right, so I don’t swim, I only paddle. I could get cramps in my feet, couldn’t I? Great Caesar!”

Take a sausage roll or you’ll never hear the end of it. Take two, just to keep her quiet. Thank heaven she makes good sausage rolls. Wonder if that girl in the two-piecer can cook. Probably not. Doesn’t need to. Wonder if she knows that thing’s come untied at the back. Hope—

“Roberta, take that dog back where you found it. Get him away! He’s got his foot in the mustard. Beat it, you ugly brute.”

Oh-oh, he belongs to the girl in the two-piecer. She’s rolled over. She’s looking this way through the dark glasses. Can’t tell whether she’s looking at me or the dog.

“Ha, ha, nice pup. Run along, boy. Here’s a sausage roll. That’s a good dog, ha, ha.”

She’s rolled back. Never even smiled. Helen isn’t smiling either. Here it comes.

“No, dear, I don’t want to play with the dog. I just wanted to get rid of him . . . Staring! Just because I happen to glance at a girl you say I’m staring . . . No, I don’t care if the dog does get cramps from the sausage roll. Now let’s forget it.”

Always like this. If there’s anything I hate it’s sarcasm, so I marry a woman that’s loaded with it. No good letting her think it stings, though. Just get up and walk with dignity into the surf. Like Joan Crawford in that movie.

“Please pass me my swimming trunks . . . What do you mean I have them on under my pants? I know what I have on under my pants. You were supposed to bring my trunks with the towels . . . Oh, fine! Yes, sir, that’s just dandy. All the way to the beach and no trunks. What did you expect me to swim in—a sausage roll? . . . No, Roberta, you can’t cover Daddy with sand. What have you done with Roger? You don’t know where he is! You’ve lost Roger?”

That does it. That’s all we needed.

“No, Helen, don’t get excited. No, he couldn’t have drowned. In this crowd he couldn’t get close enough to the water. Sure, sure, I’ll look for him. OH, ROGER!”

Everybody staring at me. Probably fifty thousand Rogers on this beach, all wondering what I want. Great big black hairy Roger over there. Feel like an awful ass.

“OH, ROGER! What do you want, Helen? I’m doing my best— . . . Oh. Sitting right behind us all the time, was he? Come here, Roger. Now what’s the idea of scaring your mother like that? Oh, for heaven’s sake. Make him quit bawling, Helen. Roberto, get that dog out of here!”

Sand flea crawling up my leg. Can’t get at him here, the dirty coward. Had enough anyway.

“Listen, everybody, we’re going home. Follow Daddy to the car.”

Let her look after them. Mother’s job.

Mm, car’s still here. Whoof, like stepping into a blast furnace. Open the . . . What’s this? You are hereby summoned to appear . . .

“HELEN!” ★